Manila FAME 2.0

I’m quite embarrassed by how late this blog post is. 😦


But as the saying goes, better late than never, right? 🙂

Before anything else, I’d like to give a shout out to the folks at Manila FAME– thank you, thank you sooooo much for the complimentary tickets!  Despite the jet lag (I just arrived the night before from Europe), nothing could have stopped me from dragging myself to SMX to see this wonderful expo!

And I’m so glad I made it 🙂

A celebration of the Filipino artisan, I thought that this second showing of Manila FAME featured such strong work from designers at the forefront of their fields–fashion, accessories, product and furniture–as well as put the spotlight on craft traditions from all over the Philippines.  True to the event’s theme, these age-old disciplines are the soul of our country, as well as a source of pride.  I am thankful that through expos like these, their importance is elevated and emphasized for all the world to see, and that something is being done to preserve them for generations to come.

The H was my date this time around, and both he and I were salivating over the wonderful pieces we saw at the booths of Kenneth Cobonpue, Ito Kish, Vito Selma, Budji Layug and Padua.

I was especially attracted to these lighted domed displays by Ito Kish.  I think it is a very elegant way of showing off little curios at home, or at least an interesting way of telling a story about treasured pieces or accessories.  I’m definitely gonna get me some as soon as they’re available at Kish’s store!

The H and I are also “thinking” about getting a new coffee table.  The one we currently have, while very practical, is a bit bulky and the wrong shape for our living space.  We’re in the market for a more streamlined, simple design, possibly one like Vito Selma’s or Padua’s design.  The reason why I have thinking in quotes is because while we really want a new table, I also know it is something we still have to save up for so it may actually take a bit longer :(.

There were other booths that had such beautifully designed and innovative home accessories, however not all of them allowed pictures, and most of them only catered to exporters 😦  So sorry, the images I have to show you are only a fraction of the talent that was on display that day during the expo.

As usual, Masaeco, my favorite booth during the first expo, did not disappoint! I’m glad to hear it was awarded Best Booth during the show.  Hubby loved the mounted paper art so much, he wanted to walk out that day with a frame in tow! Unfortunately, these pieces need to be pre-ordered, and it usually takes about 45 days for an order to be finished :(.  So wait we must for our Masaeco piece :(.

Because we didn’t have much time to go through the entire exhibit, I made it a point to leave enough time to explore the 2nd floor of the SMX, where the fashion and accessory booths were located, as well as the special displays, and interactive pavillions :).

It was inspiring to see the works of Manila’s most celebrated fashion and jewelry designers on display!  Such talent and creativity!  I especially enjoyed Aranaz’ bags and jewelry, as well as  Nicole Wisenhunt, Joyce Makitalo, Ann Ong, and Arnel Papa’s accessories.  They were truly mind-blowing!

It took such will power NOT to purchase anything!  Hahaha!  Unfortunately, most of their pieces are a bit expensive, and while I would love to own a piece or 2 from each of these designers, practicality and prudence really prohibited me from the splurge.  *Sigh*  It sucks to be practical sometimes.  Hahahaha!

Similar to the first expo held last March, there were also pavilions that highlighted regional arts and crafts.  This time around, focus was placed on Hibla, an engaging showcase of various Philippine arts and crafts such as parol-making, brass-making, basket and cloth weaving, and beadwork.  Every station had an on-the-spot demo of how each craft was done by members of indigenous communities, dressed in their own tribal wear.

I especially loved watching the weavers.  Their skillful hands worked so nimbly as they interspersed various colors of thread to form their designs.  It looked very tedious and a bit confusing to me, but it made me truly appreciate the work that goes into these products.

I also love how these local, indigenous materials are transformed into beautiful, quality products for export.  I’ve always loved Filipino crafts–in fact, whenever I’m in the province, I love scouring the market for the town’s locally-made products.  Sometimes, I end up leaving with a couple of really cool finds too!  It’s about time that these products found their fame in the international arena :). Go Pinoy!!!

New to this round of Manila FAME was a section called OTOP Marketplace. OTOP means One Town, One Product.  A priority project of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry), the OTOP initiative is a way of putting “focus on the grassroots level of the export industry”, as well as boosting and promoting local SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises).  By showcasing and selling their products in the expo, the SMEs not only strengthen their export capability, but they are also given the opportunity to update themselves on the latest trends and innovations in design.  What a great idea, right?  Again, I love that smaller, local businesses are being given a chance to show off their wares, and are given their time in the spotlight :).

Another highlight of the expo was the Craft Village, a program under Design Week Philippines.  The Craft Village initiative is intended to “bring design awareness and appreciation to local communities.”  Its goal is to preserve the arts and crafts of that particular location, while at the same time educating the new generation of its importance, and contribution to the creation of a sustainable livelihood.

The added wonderful feature of the products from these Craft Villages is that they will be made from recycled materials such as newspapers, bottles, tarpaulins, water hyacinths, etc.  Don’t you just love it?  Beautiful, quality Filipino products that are eco-friendly as well!

The Village itself is also intended to be a tourist destination, a regular stop for visitors looking for quality pasalubong or souvenirs to bring home from their trip to the Philippines.  All I can say is, “Yaaaaay!  It’s about time!”  I really hope that this is something the Philippine government can put into place soon.

It will definitely be a boost for tourism in our country.  And who knows, maybe the Philippines will soon be known as the Design Capital of Asia!  Wouldn’t that be wonderful? 🙂

You probably don’t need me to tell you what a great time I had at Manila FAME 2.0!  More and more I am convinced that Filipinos are indeed one of the best artisans in the world!  The 2 hours I had in the expo was definitely time well spent, and I left SMX that afternoon with a design high :).

According to the Manila FAME website, next year’s expo is already slated for March 14-17 at the SMX.  Do pencil it in and save the date as early as now!  If you have the chance to go, I promise you won’t be disappointed! 🙂


2 responses to “Manila FAME 2.0

  1. Christina Barrientos

    Can you please help me get in touch with Ann Ong? I am an avid admirer of her jewelry and have been searching for her contact details or website for months now. I am a Filipino expat interested in purchasing her pieces. Thank you.

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